Partnerships help protect our waterways

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Story 1 Streamwatch

With more than 60% of the catchment privately owned, keeping catchments healthy and protecting water quality is a shared responsibility between the catchment communities, catchment users and the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA). Since 2001 the SCA has been supporting Landcare and Bushcare groups within its area of operations. It has included working in partnership with the Blue Mountains City Council to deliver the “Living Streams Streamwatch” program and providing extensive support to Landcare and Bushcare groups in the Southern highlands region. Several groups have been the recipients of environmental and Streamwatch awards, including popes Glen Bushcare Group, Queen Victoria Creek Streamwatch group Wentworth falls and Moss Vale Landcare.

Managing a drinking water catchment and keeping its ecology healthy reduces the number, type and severity of pollutants that may impact the quality of water entering the water storages. To help monitor the water quality throughout Sydney’s drinking water catchments, the SCA provides equipment, training and support to volunteer groups including Streamwatch. It is a long running water monitoring program that was run in partnership with Sydney Water and the SCA and is now delivered by the Australian Museum and funded by Sydney Water. The Australian Museum and the SCA are working together to support streamwatch groups.

Streamwatch data can provide an early warning system for pollution events and a historical record of how waterways have changed. It can also help evaluate the positive impacts of remediation projects and identify local issues so that action can be taken. The program has strong quality assurance elements built in so that results are technically sound, reliable and useful.